The Thyroid Gland is a butterfly-shaped gland which sits directly over the windpipe in the front of the neck. It produces thyroid hormone from iodine in two major forms, as T4 or thyroxine which is the inactive or storage form of thyroid hormone and T3 or liothyronine which is the active form of thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone affects almost every tissue and helps to regulate many functions in the body including metabolism, temperature and growth.
An overactive thyroid may be treated with antithyroid drugs, surgery or radioactive iodine. Generally, both overactive and underactive thyroid disorders are treated on an outpatient basis. Graves disease or hyperthroidism is when i131 ablation is undetected calling for a total thyroidectomy.
All studies are ordered to evaluate the thyroid for possible surgery by a surgeon, endocrinologist or internist and may be followed by lab work and ultrasound thyroid with or without a FNA (needle biopsy) and a 4D CT scan. Some patients may also have a thyroid nuclear medicine scan, as well as, possible lab work for thyroid CBC, bleeding and clotting or nodule. Some patients might also have a cardiac evaluation, which is up to their physician’s discretion. Patients may not take aspirin, Advil, or anticoagulants before surgery; this will be discussed with their surgeon, endocrinologist or internist prior to their surgery. On the day of surgery, the patient will arrive at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and his/her procedure may be done as an inpatient or outpatient.
Following surgery, the patient will visit his/her surgeon, endocrinologist or internist for removal of his/her sutures and drain, if needed. Patients are not to exercise for two to three weeks, must keep the site dry, and may return to work after one week or later. Like before surgery, patients are not to take aspirin, Advil, or anticoagulants until told so by their physician.